Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 VS Athlon Midas 8×42


In this article, I will compare Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42.
The Athlon company, based in the US is relatively young and new in manufacturing the sport optics devices, however, their reputation has grown greatly due to the quality devices they offer and a good service. Athlon today offers many different quality-made models at affordable prices.
Leupold company was already established in 1907 and started manufacturing their first optical devices in 1942. Their owners were German, but the company was developed in Oregon, USA. Nowadays their products are mostly used by US Army and Navy, Secret Service, Marine Corps, etc… They earned a good reputation for their outstanding and reliable service- they have also organized Optics Academy and a Tactical Fed/Mil Program which increases protection and safety awareness.
The models I will describe in this article are similar in characteristics and also their price is comparable. Both are suitable for all those looking for a bit better binoculars, and at the same time for all beginners and those who want to buy a good pair of binoculars for the first time.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 And Athlon Midas 8x42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 And Athlon Midas 8×42

Size & Weight

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42Athlon Midas 8×42
Weight:663 g730 g
Width:126 mm125 mm
Length:142 mm139 mm
Max interpupillary distance:76 mm75 mm

Both binoculars have a very outstanding and bulky design. Mojave is coated in thick black rubber with several ornaments on the surface. The rubber around the bridge is shaped in a zigzag line for better grip, two patches of rubber are added to each barrel with a special pattern that resembles leather (or something similar). It also has an open bridge design, is light-weight and very compact for carrying around. Midas is slightly heavier and coated in greyish blue matted rubber, that is spiky on both sides so it does not slip out of hands. The bridge is long and massive and it is, therefore, harder to hold the binoculars in one hand.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42
Athlon Midas 8x42
Athlon Midas 8×42

Optical Properties

[table id=60 /]

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42Athlon Midas 8×42
Prism type:Roof -Schmidt/PechanRoof -Schmidt/Pechan
Lens Diameter:42 mm42 mm
Variable Magnification:NoNo
Coatings:Fully multi-coatedFully multi-coated
Close focus:2.4 m2 m
Field of View:111 m /1000 m144 m / 1000 m

8×42 is a perfect choice for all kinds of observations in everyday life; most often it is chosen for stalking hunting, watching birds and other animals, safari expeditions, large open areas, landscapes, and surroundings. 42 mm lenses gather a large amount of light and also make the binoculars suitable for use in low-light conditions. 8x magnification is perfect for the first-time buyers, novice hunters, and birdwatchers.
These two binoculars both have a Roof – Schmidt/Pechan prism type and are fully multi-coated. Athlon Midas lenses also contain quality ED elements that provide a good light transmittance and less optical dispersion. Its prisms are also phase corrected and have high-priced ESP dielectric coatings. Besides all this, XPL Lenses coating, that protects the exterior lenses from dust, water, and scratches is also included. Leupold Mojave has its prisms coated in Cold Mirror (coating) technology that improves the color reproduction, sharpness, and clarity.
I have to point out very short close focusing distance and an exceptional field of view on Midas, which is a very important characteristic, especially for hunters and those observing the wildlife.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42

Focus Properties

[table id=61 /]

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42Athlon Midas 8×42
Focusing System:CentralCentral
Central Wheel Grasp:7/108/10
Central Wheel Rotation:7/108/10
Diopter Setting:CentralRight-eye
Central Wheel Diameter:29 mm29 mm
Central Wheel Length:29 mm21 mm
Total Revolution:740°450°
Bridge Length (Without the Central Wheel Length)23-48-16 mm60 mm

The focusing system on both binoculars is central. On Leupold Mojave, only the outer part around the knob is rotated and not the whole knob like on Midas. I personally prefer the grasp and rotation of the wheel on Midas, because it is more stable and better to rotate.
Both models have a rotation knob quite similar- coated in soft black rubber with a jagged surface, which also works well when we wear gloves. I evaluated the grasp and rotation of the wheel with 7/10 on Leopold and 8/10 on Midas.
Mojave has a somewhat unusual adjustment of the diopter, which is set by pulling out the top of the central wheel knob and rotating it. Midas has a standard ring on the right barrel for the diopter setting which has very good grip.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 Central Wheel and Diopter setting
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 Central Wheel and Diopter setting
Athlon Midas 8x42 Central Wheel
Athlon Midas 8×42 Central Wheel

Eyepiece Properties

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42Athlon Midas 8×42
Eyepiece type:MultipositionedMultipositioned
Number of Click-stops:22
Eye relief:19 mm17.2 mm
Exit pupil:5.3 mm5.3 mm
Suitable for Eye Glass Wearers:YesYes
External Diameter:40 mm41 mm
Internal Diameter:22 mm23 mm

The eyepieces ob both models are multi-positioned, offering 2 click-stops. On Mojave, they are a bit harder to rotate, because they somehow get stuck from time to time, especially when turning them back to the starting position. The rubber used on them is thicker and softer and tends to get stained quickly. For all this, I gave them a rating for firmness and quality of only 7/10. The rubber used on the Midas eyecups is harder and not as comfortable as on Mojave, but it is thinner and better designed. The rotation of them is extremely smooth and well-balanced. I evaluated their firmness and quality with a good 8/10.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42 Eyepiece
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42 Eyepiece
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42 Eyepiece
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42 Eyepiece

General Properties

[table id=63 /]

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42Athlon Midas 8×42
Housing Material:Plastic/ RubberPlastic/ Rubber
Quality of Armoring:8/108/10
Quality of Covers:6/107/10
Build in Rangefinder:NoNo
Filled With:NitrogenArgon
Number of Colors:11
Tripod Adaptable:YesYes
Made in:JapanChina
Introduced in:20132016
Warranty period:5 years10 years
MRSP Price:494.00 EUR389.00 EUR

Both binoculars are coated in thicker and durable rubber with several plastic details on the surface and have a light-weight magnesium alloy housing. Armoring on both is well-made, but very robust and not too stylish. Midas is coated in a rubber of a rather dull and plain color and has a logo in vivid orange printed on the left barrel, which does not match too well with the whole appearance. Although Mojave is entirely black, different patterns “fight” with each other so that the exterior is simply too much of everything. I have evaluated the quality of armoring on both with an 8/10.
As for the covers, they close on both models by pushing them into the barrels and are attached to the edges with a thick rubber band. The rubber they are made of on Mojave is very thin and seems to be easily breakable and that is why I rated them with only a 6/10. Midas covers are designed better and in addition, they close and open much more beautiful than those on Mojave. I rated them with a good 8/10.
Mojave is filled with Nitrogen and Midas with Argon gas. Both are also O-ring sealed for maximum water and fog resistance.
Both binoculars are tripod adaptable and available only in 1 color. Mojave is made in Japan and offers 5-year warranty period and Midas is made in China, offering 10-year warranty period. The difference in price is approximately 100 EUR.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42 Covers
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42 Covers
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42

Group Test

How we made a test

We made a test with a group of 6 people with very diverse knowledge about sports optics. Some had previous experiences with binoculars and other almost none. We compared central and edge sharpness, glare, real FOV, eye-box and overall impression. Everyone in the test group tested binoculars individually without being influenced by other people. We also covered down any brand signs on binoculars, so no one was influenced by knowing which company manufactured which.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42Athlon Midas 8×42
Central sharpness:0/66/6
Edge sharpness:0/66/6
Real FOV:0/66/6
Overall impression:0/66/6

The results were quite surprising because both binoculars have similar specifications and about the same price, but Midas offers a much better optical performance. In all categories, the latter was an absolute winner; it only lost 1 point for the eye-box, because one of the people who tested the binoculars, said to be bothered by a thin edge of the Midas eyepiece due to glasses and therefore gave the point to Mojave. As for other ratings, the Midas has beaten its rival without a doubt, and so everyone would prefer to buy the latter.


I was completely fascinated when I first tested the Athlon Midas model as I did not imagine they would offer such an excellent optical performance. I need to mention their magnificent field of view and the amazing brightness of the image. I need to say the Leupold’s pair of binoculars is also good and stands out from the average, but Midas literally overshadows it.
Leupold Mojave comes in a black nylon bag, similar to a smaller purse but without the possibility of setting the strap for easier carrying. Midas comes in a black bag, which is made of harder fabrics and with a strap for it included.
Both have a neck strap and a cleaning cloth included in the package.

Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 and Athlon Midas 8x42 Bags
Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 and Athlon Midas 8×42 Bags
 Athlon Midas 8x42 and Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8x42 Packages
Athlon Midas 8×42 and Leupold BX-3 Mojave 8×42 Packages


This test wasn’t financed and is unbiased. As a wildlife enthusiast interested in sports optics I made this tests because I would like to see how binoculars perform and if they meet the advertised expectations. With this test, I also hope that it will help people choose the right binoculars for their personal use. I am not in any way connected with the manufacturers of sports optics and I’m not personally in favor of particular brand.
In the end, I would like to thank Optics-trade.eu to lend me these binoculars for this test. I also thank them for letting me use their videos.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Simon

    “one said to be bothered by a thin edge of the Midas eyepiece due to glasses”. So is it rather not to be recommended for people with glasses?

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